What to see in Tenerife in three days
Not only is Tenerife the perfect spot for seaside tourism all year round but it is also home to important historical ruins and villages surrounded by the authentic atmosphere of the islands. The flora and fauna of this land are varied and unique, the landscapes are comprised of beautiful volcanic beaches, pine forests, breath-taking reefs, peaceful bays and the Giant Guardian of the islands, Mount Teide and its National Park.
Here you will find some three-day interesting itineraries
Secret places in Tenerife
Let's start immediately with the most unusual places on the island:
El Rayo: a surprising natural monument close to the lighthouse of Buenavista. Its full name is El Huecho del Rayo. It is a crater dominated by a rocky bridge overlooking the sea, generated from slow natural erosion. The legend says that it was created by a lightning during a violent storm.
El Bunker de San Andrés: built during the Second World War, it is located 9 km far from Sant Cruz de Tenerife, on the mountain which dominates Playa de las Teresitas. It is still camouflaged so it is difficult to spot. Its internal part is really impressive but most people appreciate its highest part more, as it offers a wonderful view of the coast.
Ballena de Los Silos: you will find this peculiar sculpture in Charco de la Araña. It is the real skeleton of a whale. The municipality of Los Silos holds the Boreal International Festival every year to celebrate this monument.
Sanatorio de Abades: this structure is a phantom city close to El Poris and Punta de Abona. Nowadays the complex is a private property, but you can access it. The sanitorium was built by Franco in 1942 as a leper colony with a crematorium, a cemetery and a church. From the 1979s to 1990s it was used as a military presidio. Today it is in state of neglect but it is still very evocative.
El Semaforo de Igueste: this historical building is in Igueste de San Andrés, in the municipality of Sana Cruz de Tenerife. It is a former semaphore station used to signal to the port authority of Santa Cruz the activity of ships in the area from coast to coast. It was built in 1884 but it started working in 1895. It has been in state of abandon since the 1970s but it is still worth a visit.
Léon de Anaga: the real name of this mountain is Roque Amagoje but is known as Léon de Anaga since it is a rock shaped like the head of a lion. It is in Taganana, in the municipality of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Arco de Tajao is in San Miguel de Tajo and La Jaka in the southern part of Tenerife. It is a majestic natural bridge created by natural erosion.
Las Charchas de Erjos: It is the only place in Tenerife where you can find freshwater ponds. It is not far from Icod and its origin is due to human intervention.
In the past this area was a fertile valley and in the 1970s huge holes were dug to move the ground elsewhere. These interventions stopped when they found the hard and waterproof rock which forms the beds of the ponds, was where you could find migrant birds and other species. Nature has taken its course, creating a wonderful small ecosystem.
Pyramids of Guimar: these incredible constructions similar to those of Maya and Aztec are in the territory of Guimar, on the eastern coast of Tenerife. They may be connected to astronomical principles but their meaning and the time of their construction are still unknown.
Recommended itineraries in Tenerife
If you are in Tenerife only for a few days here are some interesting itineraries
El Teide, La Orotava and Islas Baja
This itinerary includes a visit to Teide National Park
You can travel to Valle de Ucanca, a huge plain of volcanic lava, passing through Roques de García with El Teide in the background. Close to these rocks there is a viewpoint which offers a wonderful view of Las Cañadas. From here you can get to the top if you previously asked for a special permit at the office of Teide National Park. You can get to 200 metres from the top by cable car, but you will have to continue on foot. The view at 3,718 metres above sea level is impressive: Mount Teide is the highest peak in Spain.
Then you can continue towards the northern part of the island, where you will find La Orotava, an interesting village with a nice historic centre.
Isla Baja is the region located in the north-western part of Tenerife. You will find a lot of beautiful villages such as Los Silos, Garanchico and Buenavista del Norte. The road which crosses them leads to Teno Rural Park, a unique place characterised by a rugged landscape.
Santa Cruz, La Laguna, Las Teresitas and the Laurissilva Forest: Santa Cruz and La Laguna are two cities which united over time, even if they present different characteristics: La Laguna is very modern and full of life, while Santa Cruz is refined and old fashioned. The historic centre of La Laguna is very interesting and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
To access Las Teresitas you will have to take a 5-kilometre ride from the centre of Santa Cruz. As soon as you arrive you will find the fishermen’s village of San Andrés which boasts charming restaurant offering the typical cuisine of the islands. The golden beach of Las Teresitas is a few kilometres long. From here it will be easy to access the Rural Park of Anaga, one of the oldest laurissilva forests on Earth.
Whale watching: Reef of Los Gigantes and Masca
If you have limited time, the best way to spend it is taking part into a whale watching excursion. In the waters of the southern Tenerife you will be able to spot whales and dolphins all year round as they live free and swim less than three miles from the coast. Every day numerous boats sail from Los Cristianos, Puerto Colón and Los Gigantes to go whale watching. You cannot miss the reefs of Los Gigantes which rise on the shire and reach 600 metres of height. They are one of the natural treasures offered by Santiago del Teide. From here you can get to Masca, a small traditional village hidden in the highest part of a cliff. In Masca you can have a taste of the most traditional local atmosphere of the Canary Islands.
If you prefer daily excursions you can spend the rest of the time lying on a beach. Here are some brief itineraries:
Teide Observatory: The Canary Islands, together with Chile and the Hawaii, are the best spot to observe the sky and Teide Observatory is one of the bets in the world. You can visit it with a guided tour which takes place regularly during the week.
Icod de Los Vinos: From Puerto de la Cruz it will take you less than a hour to reach Icod de Los Vinos, where you will find the popular Dragon Tree. It is a subtropical plant which can reach 20 metres of height. The shape of its branches recalls that of a dragon. It is very common on these islands but in Icod de Los Vinos you will fid the oldest specimen: the so-called Millennial Dragon Tree. It is in the Millenial Dragon Tree Park where it is surrounded by lush vegetation.
La Cueva del Viento. The popular Cave of the Wind of Tenerife is the longest volcanic tube in Europe. You can visit it with a guided hiking tour.
Anaga Mountains: The north-eastern side of the island is dominated by the majestic Macizo de Anaga. It a mountain range with numerous peaks some of which are more than 1,000 metres high. The highest is Mount Taborno (1,024 metres). The most visited spot of the area is Masca.
Punta de Teno: it is the westerner far end of Tenerife. The road that leads to Punta de Teno is not open every day to private cars, so we recommend that you check the days and times prior your visit. Otherwise you can take a bus. Once you get to Punta de Teno, visit the lighthouse, the rural surrounding area and look at the panorama of Los Acantilados.
La Laguna: have a stroll in the historic centre of this stunning town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, as is it the only example of non-fortified colonial city. The perfectly maintained pedestrian historic centre with its original XV century plan is definitely worth a visit.
Barranco del Infierno: this beautiful natural reserve is 350 metres over sea level. The pathway crosses a wonderful natural terrace which offers a stunning panoramic view. You will have Adeje in the background while surrounded by unique species of animals and plants. Different endangered species found shelter in Barranco del Infierno.
La Orotava: in the northern part of Tenerife you will see one of the oldest towns of the Canary Islands. Founded in the XVI century, it maintains a rich architectural heritage, gardens and traditions. It is named after the Taoro Valley.
Garachico: a lot of tourists spend their holiday here to find the real culture of the Canary Islands and to swim in the natural pools among the volcanic rocks. Thanks to the stunning beauty of the rocky coast nearby and the well-maintained colonial buildings, Garachico is the perfect holiday destination.
Local food: You cannot miss the wonderful traditional dishes of the Canary Islands. Its cuisine is simple and most of the dishes employ traditional ingredients such as Gofio (toasted corn or wheat flours), Papas Arrugadas (small potatoes cooked with their own peel) and Mojos (spicy sauces).
Look for traditional, simple and less tourist restaurants to experience the real tradition!
Other cities worth a visit
Santa Cruz de Tenerife: what to do and what to see
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the capital city of the Island. In the last few years it has become one of the most important tourist centres of the Canary Islands. It counts more than 200,000 inhabitants. As it is situated on a beautiful bay, it has the shape of an amphitheatre.
The most interesting are is around the port where you can see building of modernist architecture, but there also churches and museums.
San Andrés de Tenerife: what to see
Not only is San Andrés surrounded by natural beauty, it is also an interesting village which is worth a visit.
There are countless beaches to choose from.
From Granadilla de Abona you can reach the beautiful and luminous beach of Playa de la Tejita passing through El Médano, a beach popular among surfers.
On Costa Adeje, you can choose between the small Playa del Duque and the more touristic and well-equipped Playa Fanabé. From here you can go to Los Cristianos and get as far as the wonderful beach of Las Vistas which has been awarded the Blue Flag. You can enjoy Playa de las Américas, a very well-equipped beach in the heart of Tenerife where you can experience the real nightlife, the so-called movida!
If you love the wild nature, go to Playa El Bollullo which you can reach only on foot from Puerto de la Cruz.
Beneath the Macizo de Anaga lies Playa de Las Teresitas, which is one of the most visited and evocative, even if it is not very well-equipped.
In Tenerife you will find the perfect holiday destination for you since it offers a great variety of landscapes, from long golden sand beaches to small black sand beaches where you can sunbathe, relax or do water sports.
Where to stay in North and South Tenerife
If you are planning your three days on Tenerife island, you have to find the perfect accommodation solution for you. No problem: the island offers a great variety of facilities even if in the most isolated areas. If you are looking for a more exciting and social holiday with excursions and whale watching trips, the southern part of the island will not disappoint you. You will find accommodation facilities which suit all budgets and tastes, from the cheapest to the most luxurious ones.
If you want to spend three days in the most secluded places of the island, choose the northern side where you will find not only hotels and boarding houses, but also facilities which satisfy a more sustainable tourism.